Sheffield murder trial jury hears second pick axe handle was found

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Jurors in the trial of a man accused of murdering church organist Alan Greaves heard today a second pick axe handle was recovered from wasteland near the murder scene.

High Green resident Brian Smith told the jury at Sheffield Crown Court he spotted a pick axe handle on wasteground behind his neighbour’s garage in January.

Mr Smith, who was giving evidence in the trial of Ashley Foster, said he spotted the pick axe handle on January 7 but had not seen it before, despite using the area with his dog every other day.

He alerted his neighbour Marilyn Hale who told the police.

The officers alerted scenes of crime officers and the pick axe handle was forensically recovered, the court heard.

Foster, aged 22, of Wesley Road, High Green, denies murdering Mr Greaves.

His co-accused, Jonathan Bowling, also 22, of Carwood Way, Pitsmoor, has admittted killing the 68-year-old as he made his way to St Saviour’s Church in High Green to play the organ at the Christmas Eve service.

The prosecution say Mr Greaves, who suffered ‘catastrophic’ head injuries, was attacked with two weapons as he made the short journey from his home to the church on December 24.

The jury also heard from detective constable Neil Langham of South Yorkshire Police’s major incident team.

He said he was on duty on March 6 when a pick axe handle was recovered from a cupboard at the former home of Bowling’s sister Chelsea Bowling in Foxhill.

DC Langham said a carrier bag containing documents, some of which belonged to Bowling, were also recovered from the cupboard.

He said: “I called scenes of crime officers and the pick axe handle was recovered.”

The pick axe handle from the cupboard was later linked forensically to Bowling.

Robert Smith QC prosecuting said: “I just want to clarify, the pick axe handle found in the cupboard in March was different to the one found in High Green in January.”

To which DC Langham replied: “Yes.”

The jury has previously heard two pick axes were stolen from the High Green Methodist Church Hall hut last December.

Jurors were also due to hear evidence from civilian witness David Cooper via a videolink from Rhodes, Greece, where he is on holiday.

But due to technical issues he was unable to give his evidence, which will be heard at a later date.

The trial continues this afternoon.